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Make your email marketing more effective

Email marketing is still an important part of just about any digital marketing program. Here are a few tips for making it more effective–and making it work better with your website.

Personalize

The difference between your email being read and your email being deleted–or a recipient unsubscribing–is relevance. If your email isn’t relevant, it’s going to be ignored.

And while “Hi, Andrew” is better than “Hi, friend” (and certainly better than “Hi, [name]”) that kind of personalization is not going to increase relevance.

Similarly, your design and layout need to fit the subscriber’s needs and expectations, but that alone won’t be sufficient, either.

Relevant content is what counts. And keeping content relevant can be done two ways:

  1. Ask
  2. Automate

You can ask your subscribers what they want to hear about by giving them the ability to choose what topics they are interested in. This means you’ll likely need to send two, three, or four different versions of your email you need to fit the various audience segments you seek to engage with.

Second, as your list grows and email becomes more valuable, you can invest in the kinds of tools that track content consumption so you know how each subscriber’s interests change over time. You also know exactly what they’ve seen so you don’t offer them the same content again. Nothing encourages hitting the delete button like seeing repeat content.

Go mobile

Even if your website and email analytics tell you that your audience is more desk-bound than mobile, understand that the reality is that initial triage happens on a mobile device for many of us.

That is, we may not read emails in full on your phone, but we often weed through the unwanted while we’re waiting in line or in transit or anywhere we have a few minutes to kill–and our mobile devices. Relevance and importance rule the day here, but an email that can’t be deciphered isn’t doing itself any favors. Don’t get deleted just because you think mobile doesn’t matter to your audience. It almost certainly does.

Ask for action

Give your audience the option to engage further. Encourage them to visit your website. Get them to deepen their relationship with you–otherwise, you’re just publishing free content. Every email you send should have a “next step” that the content steers them toward.

Don’t push too hard, though. Remember that email can be a great way to nurture relationships over time. For most B2B businesses, though, it is not an ideal primary sales/marketing tool.

Be social

If you’ve got content that is truly viral-worthy, it needs to be easily shareable to get the process started. It won’t go viral if it can’t be shared. And even if it’s not quite that exciting, you do want to make it easy for a prospect to share with her team. Make it easy or it won’t happen.

Don’t forget to monitor your metrics. Email marketing remains a valuable tool for nearly all B2B marketers and a few simple improvements can yield even better results.

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Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured? A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms find a more strategic and productive mix of tools that genuinely support online brand goals over time. With a passion for true collaboration and meaningful consensus, his work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components. He views is primary goal as encouraging engagement. Getting an audience involved in your story requires solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either. Andrew has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events, on content marketing and web-development topics. His technology writing appears on the Andigo blog, in a monthly column on Biznology.com, and for print and online publications like The New York Enterprise Report, Social Media Today, and GSG Worldwide’s publications LinkedIn & Business, Facebook & Business, and Tweeting & Business. Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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